Refugees are set to move in

Last group ready to set­tle in re­gion

Wishaw Press - - WAR MISERY - Ross Thom­son

A fi­nal group of refugees who fled the war in Syria will make North La­nark­shire their new home.

Around 50 peo­ple will re­lo­cate over the next few weeks, bring­ing the to­tal to more than 180.

The coun­cil pledged to take in the refugees in 2016 with 133 cur­rently re­sid­ing across the six main towns of North La­nark­shire.

Chair­man of the lo­cal au­thor­ity’s Syr­ian Re­set­tle­ment Pro­gramme Coun­cil­lor Pat O’rourke said: “I am de­lighted that North La­nark­shire Coun­cil will con­tinue its ex­cel­lent work in pro­vid­ing a safe new home for even more Syr­i­ans who have been dis­placed as a re­sult of the ter­ri­ble cir­cum­stances in their home coun­try.

“The peo­ple of North La­nark­shire can be rightly proud that they have pro­vided such an un­der­stand­ing, com­pas­sion­ate and friendly wel­come to the 133 Syr­i­ans who have al­ready joined us over the last two years and I’m sure will pro­vide a sim­i­lar wel­come for those still to come.”

The fo­cus on fu­ture ap­pli­ca­tions was cen­tred on re­unit­ing fam­i­lies who have been dis­placed.

Un­for­tu­nately, is­sues due to UN­HCR (United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees) pro­ce­dures mean fam­ily con­nec­tions in host coun­tries are not cur­rently be­ing taken into ac­count when nom­i­nat­ing cases.

There­fore, the chances of nom­i­nated fam­i­lies com­ing to North La­nark­shire through fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion are ex­tremely slim.

In light of this, the Mem­ber/of­fi­cer Work­ing Group, chaired by Coun­cil­lor O’rourke, agreed to make up the fi­nal group of around 50 refugees from other cases nom­i­nated through the UK Home Of­fice and UN­HCR.

Should some or all of the ex­ist­ing fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion cases be nom­i­nated in the fu­ture the coun­cil would agree to re­ceive them and thereby ex­ceed the orig­i­nal pledge to over 180 that was made in 2016.

Coun­cil­lor O’rourke added: “Whilst it’s dis­ap­point­ing that we can’t re­unite some of those al­ready here with other mem­bers of their fam­ily, I’m heart­ened that around 50 fur­ther Syr­i­ans will soon make North La­nark­shire their home.

“The coun­cil will con­tinue to li­aise with the UK Home Of­fice and the UN­HCR in an at­tempt to get those fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion ap­pli­ca­tions which are cur­rently on­go­ing granted in or­der to bring fam­i­lies back to­gether again.”

Wel­come Coun­cil­lor Pat O’rourke

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